Francisco Costa scaled down his presentation, opting for an informal showing instead of a runway, but he didn't skimp an inch on the fabric or construction of the luxe basics in his pre-fall lineup. His blouson toggle coats and jackets are cut from a double-face cashmere wool that's a dream to touch, while his slim, flat-front pants are completely dart-less: "It took a long time to get the fit right," he said. "It's all in the cut around the butt, the thighs." Also innovative were his matte cashmere knits, made on a circular knitting machine to create a relaxed, cocoonlike silhouette.

Overall, Costa takes a less experimental approach to this collection than he does his catwalk shows—a strategy not without its benefits. How's this for versatile: Hanging on the racks were navy, ruby, and nectarine versions of many of the 17 black and white looks he put on models. Still, there was plenty of fashion with a capital F, notably in the easy-chic, pleated georgette dresses that were actually tops worn with ankle-length skirts.